American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Dynamic Assessment: Example: Using Dynamic Assessment for Vocabulary Testing

Intentionality
Today we are going to work on special names.
Meaning
Special names are important because they help us tell other people what things are, and help us to communicate clearly.
Transcendence
Special names help us organize. We put things together according to their category. What would happen if you went to a restaurant and asked for a something. Would they know what to bring?
Competence
When I show you the pictures, do you know what you are going to do? Let's think about and use special names. In your class, you're going to remember to ask for things by their name.

During the mediated learning experience (MLE) session, it is important to look for:

  • attention to task,
  • understanding of single word names,
  • evidence of transfer.

At the post test, the examiner should consider the increase in correct items and change in strategies.

Video Transcript

...And we developed some scripts based on the components of mediated learning, and they looked at again, we developed them around intentionality, meaning, transcendence, and competence. So for intentionality, we talked about, "Today we're going to learn about special names."

For meaning, we said something like, "Special names are important because they help us tell things apart. So all of these things could be called a bird, but if I want you to show me the picture of this one, you have to-I would have to say duck instead of just bird, otherwise you wouldn't know which one I'm referring to."

For transcendence, we talk about, "Well, what would happen if you went into a restaurant and ordered something, would you need to use a special name? Or what if you were going on the bus, and you wanted to go some place specific, and you needed to get off at a certain bus stop, how would you know where to get off?" So, special names are important in our everyday communication.

And then, finally, we talked about competence or developing a plan in terms of, well, "How are we going to start looking at these books? How are we going to put this puzzle together? How are we going to remember to think about a new special name?" So, these were the kinds of scripts that we developed for these preschool kids to learn about vocabulary. During the MLE sessions, then, we looked at how well they attended to the task, how well they understood single-word names, and how well they were able to pick up on using them.

One of the things that I noticed in the vocabulary testing was that they knew a lot about the word that we were targeting, but they didn't use the noun. So they might say, "Oh! I have one of those in my backyard" or "I play with that...you cut with that...you eat with that..." But they didn't tell me knife, or spoon or a swing. So, they knew a lot about what those words were. So, we also talked a little bit about that too. That all these things have uses and we can talk about them in that way. And another way to talk about them is by using special names. So we emphasize the use of single-word names without deemphasizing or while continuing to acknowledge that there are other ways to talk about things as well.

At posttest, we gave the expressive one word again, and as a group, one of the things that we found was that children who were typically developing that had language differences made great gain in their pre- to posttest scores on the expressive one word. Children who had language differences and had language impairment-and we identify children with language impairment on the basis of teacher input, parent input, and their classroom interactions with their peers. But those children, even though at pretest, they looked not that different from the typically developing children, they had a real hard time making any gains from pretest to posttest. So their scores essentially stayed the same as a group from the pretest to the posttest. Although they made some more qualitative changes in how they approach the past, but they were still a little bit off, so they might have moved from giving a description to giving a single-word name, but it's still the wrong name.

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